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Military


Powidz Air Base / Fort Trump

In February 2019, a tender was posted on the US government procurement website for the construction of a “long-term storage and maintenance facility for equipment” at Powidz Air Base, the “largest construction project in recent years under the alliance to equip a storage complex for US military equipment.” According to some reports, it is planned to place a tank brigade of ground forces on it: up to 90 M1A2 Abrams, 130 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and 18 Paladin self-propelled howitzers. Of course, for all this equipment ammunition, fuels and lubricants and auxiliary equipment will be needed, as well as, as can now be safely assumed, bridges and pontoons.

For the U.S. Army in Europe, Poland is the center of gravity. There is a division headquarters in Poznan. The Polish Air Force Base of Powidz has close to 1,000 American soldiers at the logistics and Army aviation site to help support everything in northeast Poland, to help with that speed of assembly. The Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu air force base, which the Americans all call MK, for obviously reasons, is a U.S. forward operating site. There is half of a battalion there from the rotational force. It’s a place to project power from in exercises in that region, which is what the US was trying to recreate in Powidz in Poland. Two forward operating sites would facilitate rapid deployment and forward logistics.

Fifteen NATO and two partner nations participated in the 44th iteration of the multinational maritime exercise BALTOPS 2016 in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Sweden and throughout the Baltic Sea, 3-19 June 2016. As part of BALTOPS 2016, the U.S. Air Force deployed active duty and reserve assets to Europe including four KC-135s from the 100th and 434th air refueling wings, two B-52s Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing, and 20 F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st and 138th fighter wings. These deployed forces will work in tandem with naval forces to enhance flexibility and interoperability with participating NATO allies and partner nations by conducting a series of realistic, combined flying training including air defense, maritime awareness and support to amphibious operations.

The 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) received a notice of sourcing for federal mobilization and deployment to Eastern Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The battalion headquarters was stationed in Powidz, Poland and was deployed here from November 2017-September 2018. The 143rd Support Group (Regional) (RSG), headquartered in Middletown, CT, is a brigade-level command tasked with providing properly manned, equipped and organized units for disaster response, humanitarian relief, civil disturbance and homeland defense. When activated for federal service, the 143rd RSG provides contingency and expeditionary base operations support.

After nearly two years of planning, DLA Distribution’s Deployment Expeditionary Team deployed to Powidz, Poland July 2, 2018 in support of Exercise Saber Strike 18 and Operation Atlantic Resolve. Saber Strike is the platform to validate U.S. forces collective capability to rapidly respond to and reinforce Allies in a time of crisis. Operation Atlantic Resolve is a real-world multinational training and security cooperation activity taking place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. While the Saber Strike exercise was a two week window for maneuver forces, the DDXX was on ground prior to the start of the exercise to support the annual rotation of CONUS forces supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Aviation rotations in Poland happen quarterly to continue to build on past iterations of the exercise and create a stronger partnership between the U.S. and Polish Forces. During Aviation Rotation 19-3, a bilateral training exercise to improve joint functions between the U.S. and Polish militaries, members from the 435th Contingency Response Squadron worked to teach combat offload procedures at Powidz Air Base, Poland. There are two different types of combat offloads. One is the combat offload alpha and the other is the combat offload bravo. Our goal is to show the Polish military how to perform the air transportation functions of these combat offload methods. While the method alpha is as simple as unlocking a single pallet from the aircraft and taking off, allowing the pallet to slide onto the ground, the method bravo is a little more challenging. Method bravo is where we take a multi-pallet train, pull it off of the plane and set it on barrels.

Continued US involvement would be a breakthrough in European security and transatlantic relations. It would be an effective deterrent and would provide the basis for the US's strategic involvement in the currently unstable European security environment. The US Congress obliged the head of the Pentagon to submit, no later than March 1, 2019, a report evaluating the "feasibility and legitimacy of permanent stationing in the Republic of Poland of American armed forces".

Minister Mariusz Blaszczak talked with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg on the inclusion of the "Fort Trump" initiative in defense plans, which coordinates the North Atlantic Alliance and thus strengthening the defense capabilities of the alliance on its eastern flank.

In the American Pentagon, talks are conducted as part of a working group consisting of Polish and American experts, which discusses the details of the creation of a US base in Poland. The goal of both Poland and the US is to increase the level of security in the world, and the presence of US permanent bases in Poland will certainly be an important deterrent to any aggressor.

Warsaw wants more US troops in Poland amid fears of Russian aggression. Poland already hosts US troops on a rotating basis as part of NATO, and the Polish section of a US missile defence shield over Europe is being built by the Americans at Redzikowo in the north of the country. Amid fears of Russian aggression following Moscow's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, NATO decided at a Warsaw summit in July 2016 to deploy four rotating multinational battalions to Poland and the three Baltic states.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak met President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton in May 2018 for talks on boosting the number of US troops in Poland, cooperation in NATO, the potential threat from Russia and the modernisation of the Polish army. Blaszczak also held talks at the Pentagon with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said he was open to discussion about increasing the American military presence in Poland.

Blaszczak said on 07 May 2018 there is “a real chance” of the United States increasing the number of troops it has stationed in Poland. Asked what the odds were of Washington stepping up its military presence following his talks with top American officials on the issue last month, Blaszczak told state broadcaster Polish Radio: "There is a chance. It is a real chance.” He added that such talks were "a process."

Blazej Spychalski, a spokesman for Polish President Andrzej Duda, said at the end of September 2018 that Warsaw wanted to spend about USD 2 billion to build infrastructure for American soldiers in Poland, including housing, educational and medical facilities. Senior Polish parliamentarian Adam Bielan said that a decision on a possible new permanent US troop presence in Poland was likely to be made next year.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said 29 October 2018 he was optimistic about talks underway with officials in the US about setting up a new permanent American army base in Poland. "Negotiations with our American partners are continuing, the atmosphere of these negotiations is good… I’m optimistic," Blaszczak said.

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on 16 February 2019 held meetings with US Senate Armed Services Committee officials in Germany during the Munich Security Conference. He told reporters he discussed the topic with both Republican and Democratic congressmen.

“We are discussing details, and I think we are on the right track to achieve success. My yesterday's meeting with [acting US Secretary of Defense] Patrick Shanahan is a proof for that,” Blaszczak said. He declined, however, to disclose any timeframe for the project. “This is of course a process. I don’t want to set any deadlines for that process to end … I hope for a success,” he added.

Blaszczak earlier said that the Polish government is making every effort to bring about the establishment of a permanent US army base in the country, a plan dubbed “Fort Trump” and aiming to enhance Poland’s security.

The increased presence of US troops in Poland is the main topic of the meeting of Mariusz Blaszczak, the minister of national defense with US Undersecretary of Defense JC Rood, which took place on 13 March 2019 in Warsaw. The head of the Ministry of National Defense today received deputy minister Tomasz Szatkowski and undersecretary of defense of the United States, who reported the state of work related to the project to strengthen the size of US troops in Poland.

The details of the project to strengthen American forces stationed in Poland were set up as part of a working group consisting of Polish and American experts. Before the meeting with the head of the Ministry of National Defense, the group chaired by Deputy Minister Tomasz Szatkowski and undersecretary Rood discussed issues related to the increased presence of US troops in Poland.

US European Command General Curtis Scaparrotti noted that "another two to three years would be needed before we would be dealing with an actual base and the money for that base.”




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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:26:29 ZULU